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Flood Recovery Will Be Slow

Wi t h Heartland Livestock in Virden taking the week off, there were only two cattle sales

in Manitoba during the week ended July 18, with light volumes being reported in both Brandon and Winnipeg.

Although volumes were light, prices were holding firm, with even some higher prices seen in the slaughter market.

But even though there was little activity at auction marts in the province, there was still plenty of cattle-related news.

The Manitoba Beef Producers has cal led on the provincial government to eliminate the Manitoba Cattle Enhancement Council (MCEC). Under the MCEC, $2 per head from every cattle cheque goes to the MCEC.

“The MCEC checkoff has been in place for about five years, and it has not enhanced Manitoba’s slaughter capabilities. We feel it would be best to leave that money in the hands of producers at this time,” said Cam Dahl, general manager of the Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP).

In a separate press release, Major Jay Fox, president of MBP, said beef producers in Manitoba are facing some of the most difficult times in recent memory, with ongoing floods and excessive moisture, while lingering market impacts of the BSE crisis have put many beef families on the financial edge. He went on to say that money collected by the MCEC would be put to better use if it stayed in farmers’ pockets.

Prompting the association was a recent announcement from the federal government, as the Slaughter Improvement Program gave $10 million to the HyLife Foods facility in Neepawa last week.

“The money that was announced for the Neepawa plant was originally planned for the MCEC, and this was an allocation of those funds,” Dahl said. “The federal government has indicated from Agriculture Minister (Gerry) Ritz that the MCEC did not meet the criteria of this program.”

The Slaughter Improvement Program consists of a total $60 million that the federal government is using to support sound business plans aimed at reducing costs, increasing revenues and improving operations of meat-packing and -processing operations in Canada.

Dahl said he was not aware of any further announcements from the Slaughter Improvement Program that would benefit Manitoba’s beef sector.

Another issue facing cattle producers throughout Manitoba is the recovery from flooding, something that Dahl said will be long lasting. However, he said the MBPA was pleased with measures the provincial government has taken to help farmers.

“There is a lot of hurt across the province, but we were very pleased with the package that the province announced back on June 30, as it addressed all parts of the industry,” he said. “It addressed feed shortage, it addressed the need for restoring flooded-out pasture and hay/forage land, and it addressed the transportation needs. That package is quite comprehensive.”

Dahl added that some of the application forms for some of the programs were already online, and he expected some of the funds could be flowing fairly soon.

“We will be watching closely to make sure that the programs are adequate, and they are delivered equitably, as the hurt is widespread across the province,” he said.

Dahl said at the forefront of many producers’ minds right now is the hay crop, with many areas seeing alfalfa and grass hay under water, or too wet to cut.

FROM THE AUCTION FLOORS:

(NoteallpricesinCdn$per cwt.Thesepricesalsogenerally representthetopone-third ofsalesreportedbythe auctionyard.)

Ashern Livestock Mart: Closed for summer. Sales to resume in August.

Gladstone Auction Mart: Prices unavailable from June 21 sale. Final sale in mid- July. Sales to resume in mid- August.

Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart :Summer schedule in place. No sales until August.

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon:A total of 205 cattle were on offer in Brandon at the July 12 sale.

In the slaughter market, D1-D2 cows $65-$72; D3 cows $60-$65; feeder cows $54-$60, and good bulls $82- $88.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. ranged from $108-$114.50; 700-800 lbs. $112-$124; 600-700 lbs. $120-$131.75; 500-600 lbs. $120-$132, and 400-500 lbs. $125-$138.50

Feeder heifers weighing 700-800 lbs. brought $100- $108; 600-700 lbs. $110- $120.75; 500-600 lbs. $115- $122, and 400-500 lbs. $120- $127.50.

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden:No sale held during the week. Weekly auctions to resume July 20.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart Ltd.:Sales finished for summer. Auctions to resume in fall.

Taylor Auctions, Melita: Sales concluded for summer. Auctions to resume August 18.

Killarney Auction Mart: No auction this week. Sales to resume in August.

Winnipeg Livestock Sales: There were about 257 cattle sold at the sale held on July 15.

In the slaughter market, age-verified/young cows ranged from $55-$70; D1 and D2 cows $63-$67; D3 cows $57-$63; shelly cows $49-$57 and mature bulls $80-$87.

Feeder prices were not available from the sale.

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